PALACE RELEASES ORDER SPELLING OUT ALMENDRAS' NEW FUNCTIONS

MANILA, NOVEMBER 12, 2012 (INQUIRER) By TJ Burgonio - President Benigno Aquino III has given Cabinet Secretary Rene Jose Almendras a powerful role in his administrations as implementor of its projects roadmap, without clipping the powers of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The President signed Executive Order 99 on Oct. 31 vesting the Cabinet Secretary with powers to implement his 16-point agenda and Philippine Development Plan between now and June 2016, when he steps down from power.

The secretary will report directly to the President, and will hold office in Malacañang, Abigail Valte, one of the President’s official spokespersons, said at a Palace news briefing.

“If you look at everything that the Executive Secretary is doing, it’s quite heavy. There are instructions given by the President on a day-to-day basis to his Cabinet secretaries that need to be monitored just to make sure. Secretary Almendras will be that person,’’ Valte addeed.

Before flying on Sunday afternoon to Laos to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting, Aquino administered the oaths of office to Almendras and new Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Almendras was the previous energy secretary.

Under the EO, the Cabinet Secretary’s main job is to facilitate the identification of a list of priority areas and outcome-based targets in the President’s “social contract’’ or 16-point agenda, and the Philippine Development Plan from now until 2016. The plan translates the administration’s medium-term priorities into specific programs and projects.

“The Cabinet Secretary will be in charge of monitoring and making sure that the projects under the roadmap will be implemented on time,’’ Valte said.


[PHOTO - President Aquino reviews his notes with Secretary Almendras and DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario on Day 2 of the Asean-Europe Meeting in Laos. Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras will exercise broader powers after President Benigno Aquino III transferred to his office the functions of an inter-agency task force that monitors the delivery of identified targets across all government agencies. However, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that there will be no overlap in the functions of Almendras and those of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. MALACANANG PRESS BUREAU]

According to the EO, his other functions are to:

• Recommend to the President an annual detailed and measurable performance and projects roadmap that will facilitate outputs of the targets against priorities, in close coordination with the concerned agencies;

• Ensure the timely execution and monitor the significant impact of the targets under the annual performance and projects roadmap, and re-align targets when needed;

• Represent the President in meetings and such other fora in order to expedite inter-agency action toward the achievement of the targets identified in the performance and projects roadmap;

• Assist in providing timely and organized information to the Cabinet on issues and problems submitted for decision and action; and

• Perform such other functions as may be necessary and incidental to the attainment of its objectives or as may be assigned by the President.

On top of these, the Cabinet Secretary will also chair the Inter-Agency Task Force to oversee and integrate the Results-Based Performance Management System across all agencies. The Executive Secretary will co-chair the task force.

The Cabinet Secretary is also a member of all Cabinet clusters, and the National Economic and Development Authority Board Executive Committee, and other NEDA committees.

But by giving Almendras such powers, the President did not clip the powers of the otherwise low-profile Ochoa, according to Valte.

“Well, your Executive Secretary is still what we call ‘primus inter pares’,’’ she said. “Whatever the ES was doing before, it will stay.”

Some functions of Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad were transferred to the Cabinet Secretary, she said.


[PHOTO -Paquito "Jojo" N. Ochoa, Jr. took Economics at the University of Santo Tomas and law at the Ateneo School of Law. He joined the Bar in 1986, and his pro-bono work in his province led to his election as Director and then Vice President of the Bulacan Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. He also engaged in private practice and served as partner of the De Mesa and Ochoa Law Offices and later partner (on leave) in the Marcos Ochoa Serapio Tan Law Firm. The closeness of the Aquino and Ochoa families—the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino was a close friend of the senior Ochoa, the former mayor of Pulilan, Bulacan—would lead to Atty. Ochoa being tapped by Noynoy Aquino to handle the latter’s legal requirements when he first ran for Congress in 1998; Atty. Ochoa has handled his legal affairs ever since. [edit]City Administrator]

Some political analysts observed that Almendras’ appointment would diminish Ochoa’s role in the Executive Department.

In essence, the EO reconstitutes the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat of 1986 and renames it Office of the Cabinet Secretary, defining its powers, and providing support staff.

To avoid confusion, the Presidential Communication Development and Strategic Planning Office released a matrix delineating the functions of the Cabinet Secretary, the Executive Secretary and the PMS head.

The matrix shows that the Cabinet Secretary’s mandate has to do with policy: integration and implementation of the programs of the administrations.

The Executive Secretary’s mandate is administrative in nature since he responds to the “specific needs and requirements’’ of the President. The PMS head is directly responsible for providing staff assistance in the president’s exercise of overall management of the development process, the strategic planning office said.

Based on the matrix, the Cabinet Secretary’s powers and functions are limited to six, compared with a long list of functions of the Executive Secretary and the PMS head.

But EO 99 also transfers the functions of the Inter-Agency Task Force to the Cabinet Secretary. Created by Administrative Order No. 25, the task force is tasked with carrying out harmonizing, unifying, streamlining and reporting requirements and processes consistent with the Results-Based Performance Management System, which spells out a performance-based incentive system for government employees.

Almendras will chair the inter-agency task force. Ochoa will co-chair it. The PMS head is a member.

“`There is a need to operationalize the outputs of the Inter-Agency Task Force created under AO 25 to strengthen and more closely monitor the delivery of the identified targets to ensure that these translate into outcomes that directly and positively impact on the lives of the Filipino people,’’ the President said in EO 99.

Almendras will also be a member of Neda’s Investment Coordination Committee, Social Development Committee and Infrastructure Committee.

According to EO 99, the Cabinet Secretary will be under the control and supervision of the President, and will report directly to him.

Almendras prefers being ‘invisible’ workhorse Cebu Daily News PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

FROM CEBU DAILY NEWS


[PHOTO -Jose Rene Almendras (at right) graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in business management. He also finished the Strategic Business Economics Program at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Photo at left- Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla -Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed the assumption of Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla to the Energy department’s top post. He, however, is not expected to immediately discharge his duties as DoE head until he wraps up unfinished businesses at the Leyte provincial capitol. Lacierda said Aquino named Petilla to replace Almendras based on what he claimed was his effective governance of his province. He added that aside from being a member of the Liberal Party, the President also said Petilla is astute in handling finances, and he has private sector experience. Petilla, who is considered a DoE outsider is expected not to be beholden to energy stakeholders, added Lacierda. News clips from THE TRIBUNE]

Before being appointed energy secretary, he was president of Manila Water. He was also treasurer of Aboitiz & Co. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. before joining the Ayala Group of Companies

President Aquino has given Cabinet Secretary Rene Jose Almendras a powerful role in his administration as implementor of its projects roadmap, without clipping the powers of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

Almendras will report directly to the President, and will hold office in Malacañang, Palace spokesperson Abigail Valte explained at a news briefing.

It’s well known that the Cebuano finance executive, a close friend of Aquino since their Ateneo college days, enjoys the President’s confidence but prefers to stay in the background and avoid appearing to usurp the role of Ochoa.

“Rene is the kind of person who, if he could help it, would just stay invisible and go on working,” his eldest sister, Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale told Cebu Daily News.

The President signed Executive Order 99 on Oct. 31 vesting the Cabinet Secretary with powers to implement his 16-point agenda and Philippine Development Plan between now and June 2016, when he steps down from power.

“If you look at everything that the Executive Secretary is doing, it’s quite heavy,” Valte told reporters.

“There are instructions given by the President on a day-to-day basis to his Cabinet secretaries that need to be monitored just to make sure. Secretary Almendras will be that person.”

Before flying on Sunday to Laos to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting, Aquino administered the oaths of office to Almendras and new Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Almendras was the previous energy secretary.

Under the new EO, the Cabinet Secretary’s main job is to help identify a list of priority areas and outcome-based targets in the President’s “social contract” or 16-point agenda, and the Philippine Development Plan from now until 2016. The plan translates the administration’s medium-term priorities into specific programs and projects.

“The Cabinet Secretary will be in charge of monitoring and making sure that the projects under the roadmap will be implemented on time,” Valte said.

According to the EO, his other functions are to:

- Recommend to the President an annual detailed and measurable performance and projects roadmap that will facilitate outputs of the targets against priorities, in close coordination with the concerned agencies;

- Ensure the timely execution and monitor the significant impact of the targets under the annual performance and projects roadmap, and re-align targets when needed;

- Represent the President in meetings and such other fora in order to expedite inter-agency action toward the achievement of the targets identified in the performance and projects roadmap;

- Assist in providing timely and organized information to the Cabinet on issues and problems submitted for decision and action; and

- Perform other functions as needed to attain the objectives or as may be assigned by the President.

On top of these, the Cabinet Secretary will also chair the Inter-Agency Task Force to oversee and integrate the Results-Based Performance Management System across all agencies. The Executive Secretary will co-chair the task force.

The Cabinet Secretary is also a member of all Cabinet clusters, and the National Economic and Development Authority Board Executive Committee, and other NEDA committees.

The President, however, did not clip the powers of the otherwise low-profile Ochoa, according to Valte.

“Well, your Executive Secretary is still what we call ‘primus inter pares’,” (Latin for ‘first among equals) she said. “Whatever the ES was doing before, it will stay.”

Some functions of Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad were transferred to the Cabinet Secretary, she said.

Some political analysts observed that Almendras’ appointment would diminish Ochoa’s role in the Executive Department.

In essence, the EO reconstitutes the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat of 1986 and renames it Office of the Cabinet Secretary, defining its powers, and providing support staff.

To avoid confusion, a matrix was released showing the functions of the Cabinet Secretary, the Executive Secretary and the PMS head. It shows that the Cabinet Secretary’s mandate has to do with policy: integration and implementation of the programs of the administrations.

The Executive Secretary’s mandate is administrative in nature since he responds to the “specific needs and requirements” of the President. The PMS head is directly responsible for providing staff assistance in the president’s exercise of overall management of the development process, the strategic planning office said.

The Cabinet Secretary’s powers and functions are limited to six, compared with a long list of functions of the Executive Secretary and the PMS head.

But EO 99 also transfers the functions of the Inter-Agency Task Force to the Cabinet Secretary. Almendras will chair the inter-agency task force. Ochoa will co-chair it. The PMS head is a member.

Almendras will also be a member of NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee, Social Development Committee and Infrastructure Committee./INQUIRER

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Maceda: Ochoa’s powers clipped By Gigi Munoz-David | Posted on Nov. 08, 2012 at 12:01am

In the power play shuffling of posts in Malacanang, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa becomes “literally little president,” but Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras is now “deputy president,” a former executive secretary and ex-Senate president said on Wednesday.

Veteran politician Ernesto Maceda (photo), who served as Executive Secretary under president Ferdinand Marcos, said Ochoa might become less relevant after the power shift because some of his responsibilities have been transferred to Almendras.

Maceda, who was Senate President in 1996 and Philippine Ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2001, slapped on the wrist presidential spokesperson Abegail Valte, who claimed Ochoa’s powers will not be clipped.

“She does not know what she’s talking about,” Maceda said.

He said the main job of Almendras was to oversee the implementation of the president’s projects and “in that role he becomes the deputy president.”

“Almendras will hold office in Malacanang and will report directly to the president. With his reduced responsibilities, Executive Secretary Ochoa becomes literally only the little president,” Maceda said.

Almendras, who is Aquino’s friend since their college days at the Ateneo de Manila University, was former Secretary of Energy before his appointment as Cabinet Secretary. Aquino swore him into office at the Ninoy Aquino airport before the president left for an official trip to Laos last November 5.

Ochoa, one of the original advisers of Aquino when he assumed the presidency, has been “the first among equals” in the Cabinet. Aquino signed Executive Order 99 last October 31 transferring some of his powers to Almendras.

Maceda said Almendras’ appointment would lead to faster decision-making because of the Cabinet Secretary’s “closeness to Aquino … and on a personal basis, Almendras is closer to the President than Ochoa.”

“With his closeness to the President, Almendras can expand his powers easily. Hopefully, with Almendras as facilitator, decisions in Malacanang will move faster,” Maceda said.

He said the job of Executive Secretary was too big for one man and he used to work at least 18 hours a day, staying in his office in Malacanang past midnight because of the heavy workload.

Maceda said Almendras was more qualified than Ochoa to be the senior adviser to the president and has the advantage of being “an experienced corporate manager with a wider perspective.”

Under his new position, Almendras will be a member of all the Cabinet clusters.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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